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Cool, cozy, and absolutely scrumptious is the only way to describe a meal at The Preserve Salt City Tavern and Grille. Established in 2018, this restaurant is a welcome addition to Syracuse. The Preserve is located at 405 Spencer Street in the Inner Harbor in Syracuse. They are open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 am to 11 pm. Reservations are recommended to avoid a wait, especially on busy night, so for reservations be sure to call 315-214-4399.

Hanging out at The Preserve feels a lot like being at the house of the coolest person you know. It’s warm and inviting while still being cool and modern. If you look deeper into the modern décor you will notice that everything used is a nod to Syracuse’s rich history as the Salt City. You might notice the salt rake on the wall hanging next to blown up sepia prints of the inside of the salt factories. It’s not stuffy like a museum or even kitschy; the atmosphere at The Preserve is the perfect balance of history and modernity. The staff at The Preserve really love Syracuse and all it has to offer and they pride themselves on using fresh and local ingredients and vendors whenever possible! Their love of Syracuse may run this deep because the same team also runs another Syracuse favorite- The Gem Diner!

The menu at The Preserve is equal parts creative and delicious. You absolutely have to check out some of their crispy crust pizza with toppings that you won’t find on a menu anywhere else, like the Mighty Meatball (topped with their absolutely fantastic meatballs sliced and loaded with cheese), the Preserve (loaded with mozzarella, pesto, caramelized onions, tomato and garlic), the Tuscan (a garlic pie topped with cheese, roasted red peppers, onions, grilled chicken, and pesto), and the truly unique Chicken Riggie (their traditional pizza crust topped with their famous homemade riggie sauce, and loaded with cheese, chicken, onions, peppers, and sliced cherry peppers). These pizza are perfect to share while enjoying the awesomely chill atmosphere. Whether you are there for lunch or dinner you will certainly be able to find something super flavorful on their sandwich board menu. They have a big selection of gourmet burgers with all sorts of wonderful toppings. They even have a special “Before the Butcher” burger that is completely vegan and it’s even served with vegan mayo! You have to check out their sandwich selection with awesome choices like the Sunshine Sliders (two tender pot roast sliders smothered in melty nacho cheese), the Hot Lobster Roll (served on a grilled house bun piled high with hot lobster pieces and served with a side of warm melted butter), or the Prime Rib Philly (a huge portion of prime rib served open face and topped with provolone, onions, and cherry peppers).

We arrived at The Preserve on a busy Friday fall night. We were immediately seated at a cozy table for two near the raised fireplace. We were soon greeted by our lovely server, Amber, who shared with us the nightly specials. We had a hard time choosing between all of the amazing appetizers. We were intrigued by the Meatball Mania served in what reminded us of wing sauces. We tried the fresh ground meatballs served in garlic parmesan sauce, spicy garlic bbq sauce, and buffalo sauce topped with crumbly bleu cheese. Each of these creations were completely mouth watering! It was an interesting combination that really worked! We also tried the Scallops Wrapped in Bacon served with blueberry jalapeno jam. The scallops were huge and tender and wrapped with a generous portion of crispy bacon. The sweet and spice blueberry jam was a great accompaniment to the fantastic scallops. We both had a fresh and delicious Caesar salad before our entrée. For my main course I ordered the NY Strip server over crispy garlic toast with a side of asparagus. My steak was cooked to perfection and the asparagus was exceptionally seasoned. Kyle just couldn’t pass up the Broiled Salmon Filet, a flakey and tender portion of salmon served on top of a bed of wild rice and grilled asparagus drizzled with a lemon butter sauce. He ate every single bite before I could even ask to try it! Although we were full we just couldn’t pass up trying some of the locally made desserts. Kyle ordered a piece of pecan pie, which is made locally at a local farm using honey from the farm! I could not pass up a few bites of the chocolate and salted caramel cake, made fresh at a local bakery. This cake was sweet and delicious and the perfect way to end a wonderful meal!

If you have not yet been to The Preserve you absolutely must check them out! Look them up on facebook, Instagram and their website at www.thepreserveat405.com and be sure to check out their signature and seasonal cocktail list on the website! For a great time and a great meal, get down to the Inner Harbor and try The Preserve today!

Kerilyn Micale
Kerilyn E. Micale is a Cicero native.